GAMEDAY College Football

Oklahoma 45, Texas-El Paso 13

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. - Dillon Gabriel passed for two touchdowns and ran for another and No. 9 Oklahoma rolled past UTEP 45-13 for Brent Venables' first career victory as a head coach.

Venables was a full-time assistant for the previous 26 years in stints at Kansas State, Oklahoma and Clemson. He took over after Lincoln Riley left to take the Southern California job last December and brought energy and hope to a stunned fanbase.

Now, the Sooners have taken a significant step forward.

"At the end of the day, it was going to be about Oklahoma re-establishing the soul and the spirit of this program," Venables said.

Gabriel, a transfer from Central Florida, connected on 15 of 23 passes for 233 yards. Eric Gray rushed for 102 yards, Brayden Willis caught two touchdown passes and Marcus Major rushed for two scores for the Sooners (1-0).

Gavin Hardison passed for 244 yards, Tyrin Smith caught eight passes for 71 yards and Reynaldo Flores caught seven passes for 76 yards for the Miners (0-2).

Oklahoma jumped out to a 21-0 lead just over eight minutes into the game. The Sooners gained 301 yards to take a 28-10 halftime lead. Gabriel passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns before the break. Reggie Grimes led the Oklahoma defense with 2 1/2 sacks in the first half, including one on the final play of the second quarter to snuff out a scoring threat.

"I thought after we handled the first onslaught, the 21-0 run, I thought we played better," UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. "From that point on, it was 24-13. We executed and did some things better."

Oklahoma then held UTEP to 99 yards and three points in the second half.

"I want them to enjoy this one," Venables said. "But on Monday, we're going to strip this thing down to the studs and start over again."

THE TAKEAWAY

UTEP: The Miners couldn't get anything going. They had just 28 yards rushing on 31 attempts, and the Sooners finished with six sacks and 10 quarterback hurries.

Oklahoma: The Sooners rushed for 259 yards and passed for 233. Oklahoma averaged 8.1 yards per play and 6.8 yards per carry and did not commit a turnover. The Sooners were balanced offensively and protected Gabriel relatively well.

GRAY SHINES

In his first game as the clear No. 1 back, Gray turned in his first 100-yard rushing performance for the Sooners.

Gray transferred from Tennessee before last season, then split time with Kennedy Brooks. With Brooks gone, Gray finally got the kind of work he wanted. The senior had 16 carries and caught two passes, including a 35-yard run and a 24-yard reception.

WHAT A START

Oklahoma true freshman receiver Gavin Freeman took a reverse 46 yards for touchdown on his first collegiate touch.

Freeman attended Heritage Hall School in Oklahoma City, the same place that produced NFL great Wes Welker.

LAUFENBERG TRIBUTE

Hardison will wear former Miners tight end Luke Laufenberg's No. 2 jersey throughout this season. Laufenberg died of cancer in 2019. Hardison is the second Miners player to wear Laufenberg's jersey. Players also have worn black stickers on their helmets in his honor since the start of the 2019 season.

QUOTABLE

Dimel, on playing in a hostile environment: "It was a fun experience. It was a good game for us. It's what you want to get out of a non-conference game if you're not going to win."


Scoring Summary
First Quarter UTEPOkla
Okla TD 13:43 Dillon Gabriel 12 yd run (Zach Schmit kick) 0 7
Okla TD 9:18 Brayden Willis 6 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Zach Schmit kick) 0 14
Okla TD 6:43 Gavin Freeman 46 yd run (Zach Schmit kick) 0 21
Second Quarter UTEPOkla
UTEP FG 14:12 Gavin Baechle 48 yd FG 3 21
UTEP TD 8:18 Ronald Awatt 2 yd run (Gavin Baechle kick) 10 21
Okla TD 0:55 Brayden Willis 28 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Zach Schmit kick) 10 28
Third Quarter UTEPOkla
Okla TD 10:48 Marcus Major 1 yd run (Zach Schmit kick) 10 35
Okla TD 3:16 Marcus Major 6 yd run (Zach Schmit kick) 10 42
Fourth Quarter UTEPOkla
UTEP FG 14:01 Gavin Baechle 54 yd FG 13 42
Okla FG 5:17 Zach Schmit 22 yd FG 13 45
Team Stats
  UTEP Oklahoma
First downs 26 23
  Rushing 4 14
  Passing 19 7
  Penalty 3 2
3rd Down Efficiency 5-15, 33% 3-8, 38%
4th down efficiency 1-2, 50% 1-1, 100%
Rushes-Yards 31-28 38-259
Passing Yards 288 233
Return Yards 29 68
Completions-Attempts-Int 31-51-1 15-23-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 6--46 2--10
Punts 5 3
Punts-Average 42.2 45.3
Fumbles Lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 6-50 7-59
Time of Possession 38:33 21:27
UTEP Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
G. Hardison 26 42 244 0 0
C. Brownholtz 5 8 44 0 1
Oklahoma Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Gabriel 15 23 233 2 0
UTEP Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. Awatt 12 39 3.3 1
D. Hankins 6 15 2.5 0
C. Walker 2 9 4.5 0
T. Burgess Jr. 1 5 5.0 0
C. Brownholtz 2 0 0.0 0
K. Akharaiyi 1 -6 -6.0 0
G. Hardison 7 -34 -4.9 0
Oklahoma Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
E. Gray 16 102 6.4 0
M. Major 7 54 7.7 2
G. Freeman 1 46 46.0 1
J. Barnes 4 25 6.3 0
D. Gabriel 6 20 3.3 1
T. Walker 2 10 5.0 0
D. Beville 1 4 4.0 0
UTEP Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
R. Flores 7 76 10.9 0
T. Smith 8 71 8.9 0
J. Ballard 5 39 7.8 0
K. Akharaiyi 4 36 9.0 0
J. Tupou 1 24 24.0 0
T. Burgess Jr. 1 13 13.0 0
R. Awatt 1 11 11.0 0
W. Dawn Jr. 2 9 4.5 0
Z. Fryar 1 5 5.0 0
M. Bellon 1 4 4.0 0
Oklahoma Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
M. Mims 3 81 27.0 0
B. Willis 3 40 13.3 2
T. Wease 3 37 12.3 0
E. Gray 2 33 16.5 0
D. Stoops 2 25 12.5 0
J. Farooq 1 9 9.0 0
M. Major 1 8 8.0 0
UTEP Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Oklahoma Interceptions
Player Int Yards
G. Williams 1 0
UTEP Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Sloan 5 211 42.2
Oklahoma Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Turk 3 136 45.3
UTEP Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Bellon 2 -2 -1.0
Oklahoma Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Mims 2 17 8.5
UTEP Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
W. Dawn Jr. 2 31 15.5
Oklahoma Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Bowman 2 51 25.5
UTEP Missed FG
Player Length
Oklahoma Missed FG
Player Length




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